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Ethics and the Dark Side of Science: Conway Memorial Lecture 2010

In this year's Conway Memorial address, Professor Jonathan Glover will explore the ethics of scientific research and aim to understand if it is necessary to decide what the responsibilities of individual scientists are, or ought to be with regard to the moral consequences of their work. Given that we live in a world in which nation states and other groups develop weapons with appalling possibilities, should scientists never take part, or can the defensive development of such weapons sometimes be the lesser evil? The uses of science for dark purposes: for torture, and for atrocities, either in war or as acts of terrorism can be seen in many cases throughout history, notably with regard to atomic and bioogical weapons. After medicine and medical research was used in atrocities by the Nazis, the medical world drew up codes of ethics governing research, and developed a whole culture of ethical discussion and debate. Should something similar be developed for the community of research scientists and technologists? If so what should it be like?

Jonathan Glover is the Director of the Centre for Medical Law & Ethics at King's College London and Distinguished Research Fellow at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford. He has written several books, including Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century and Causing Death and Saving Lives. He chaired a European Commission Working Party on Assisted Reproduction and gave the inaugural Uehiro Lecture series in 2004, published as Choosing Children: Genes, Disability, and Design. For more information on Professor Glover and his research interests please visit personal website.

The annual Conway Memorial Lectures are given in honour of Moncure Conway, the American abolitionist and biographer of Thomas Paine, who also gives his name to the home of South Place Ethical Society, Conway Hall. The lectures have been given every year since 1910 and past speakers include many luminaries of the humanist movement and some of the most distinguished philosophers, scientists and cultural commentators of the twentieth century including Israel Zangwill, Bertrand Russell, Leonard and Julian Huxley, J.B.S Haldane, Joseph Needham, Jacob Bronowski, James Hemming, Bernard Williams, H.J Blackham, Fenner Brockway, A.J Ayer, Herman Bondi, David Starkey, A.C Grayling and Steve Jones.


programme@ethicalsoc.org.uk / 020 7242 8034


Professor Jonathan Glover | talks | www


Date and Time:

28 October 2010 at 6:30 pm


2 hours



Conway Hall
Conway Hall
25 Red Lion Square
0207 242 8034

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